Roll Out Change (Without All the Resistance)
For every leader, the question around how to roll out change in an organization is a big topic. Why? Most people don’t like change, sometimes even when they’re downright miserable or can acknowledge the vital need for change. Recent research around change management tells us that one of the key reasons people resist change is because they worry that the organization will become something they no longer value or identify with. So what’s the solution? While there’s no silver bullet, there are some solid steps you can take to address resistance to change, namely altering how you approach and manage it yourself.
Expect pushback. It’s naïve to think that when you come up with a brilliant new vision, goal or strategy your people are going to jump on board simply because you lead them. Pushback will happen. It’s human nature. So drop any defenses and expect it, along with the wealth of emotions that your employees may be expressing (or keeping to themselves). Let people know you’re aware that change is tough. Develop a safe, perhaps even confidential way for people to communicate concerns and know they’ve been heard. Don’t punish anyone for voicing fear. Don’t call them unreasonable, negative or emotional. Remember, they are being human.
State what will stay the same—or become even better. What won’t change, particularly in regard to your organization’s vision, mission and culture? What will improve and become better about what’s core to your organization, reinforcing or expanding upon what your people love about where they come to work. When you talk about change with your people, make an effort to highlight these aspects first to reduce uncertainty, calm nerves and minimize fear as minor and/or major transitions take place.
Give clarity to the path. As the sponsor for the change you wish to see, it’s your job to build clarity around what’s vital for any change and how that will be achieved. In short, this is about building goal alignment as explained by MAP Client Robert Curry, CEO of Alamitos Enterprises, one of the largest automatic oil change businesses in Southern California. “When that vision is communicated and people understand it throughout the organization, they help,” Curry says. “So it’s not just ‘me’ pushing and pulling to achieve the objectives of the company, but now I have 500 people in the organization all pulling in the same direction.” For Curry and other MAP clients, buy-in around goal alignment stems from using the MAP System, a platform that provides for essential communication, planning and accountability, all while giving everyone the same opportunity to clearly grasp the vision and goals. The clarity of the path, aka “the plan,” provides the entire organization with knowledge around what is and is not to be.
What measures or practices have you put in place to build greater alignment in your organization?